Galangin induces human colon cancer cell death via the mitochondrial dysfunction and caspase-dependent pathway

Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2013 Sep;238(9):1047-54. doi: 10.1177/1535370213497882. Epub 2013 Aug 7.


Galangin is a member of flavonols and found in Alpinia officinarum, galangal root, and propolis. Previous studies have demonstrated that galangin has anti-cancer effects on several cancers, including melanoma, hepatoma, and leukaemia cells. However, anti-cancer activity of galangin on human colon cancer has not been established yet. In this study, we investigated the anti-cancer effects of galangin on two types of human colon cancer cells (HCT-15 and HT-29). We found that galangin induced apoptosis and DNA condensation of human colon cancer cells in a dose-dependent manner. We also determined that galangin increased the activation of caspase-3 and -9, and release of apoptosis inducing factor from the mitochondria into the cytoplasm by Western blot analysis. In addition, galangin induced human colon cancer cell death through the alteration of mitochondria membrane potential and dysfunction. These results suggest that galangin induces apoptosis of HCT-15 and HT-29 human colon cancer cells and may prove useful in the development of therapeutic agents for human colon cancer.

Keywords: Human colon cancer; apoptosis; caspase activation; chromatin condensation; galangin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Caspase 3 / metabolism
  • Caspase 9 / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • Female
  • Flavonoids / chemistry
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Membrane Potential, Mitochondrial / drug effects
  • Mitochondria / drug effects*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Flavonoids
  • galangin
  • Caspase 3
  • Caspase 9